CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS POST...
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"So Sally wouldn't accept the flowers you bought for her." Marcus said, choosing to ignore the rant about florists altogether. "What made her not accept them, Michael? What happened between the two of you before you tried to give her the flowers?"
"Thanks for being there for me, buddy, youíre a true friend." Michael replied. "It just so happens that I have no idea why she refused them. Anyway, I can't talk long. I have a florist to visit, if you know what I mean!"
"She turned down your roses," Marcus sighed. "So you have to ask yourself, I mean really ask yourself, what you did wrong, Michael."
"She said that I take her for granted, if you can believe something as rich as that," Michael said. "She said that if she accepted the flowers it would give me the false belief that I could ply her with them any old time I happened to step out of line. She thought I was USING the flowers to apologize for something I might have done, or, if you can believe this buddy, something I might happen to do in the future!"
Marcus took one last drag on his cigarette before stubbing it out. He considered commenting but thought better of it. He sensed that Michael might be on a roll, and that he might soon tire himself out as far as telephone conversations went.
"I plucked several of these hideous roses clean." Michael continued. "Stripped them to the marrow, and I just let the petals fall where they may, Marcus. They just littered the floor, and I'm gonna keep them there to remind me of how foolish I was to go out on a whim and stockpile my fists with as many roses as I could carry. Thatís one of the uses I have come up with for fallen rose petals, buddy. An emblem of regret they will be, and I hope they rot there."
"I think you're blowing this whole thing out of propor..." Marcus attempted to say.
"Oh, you do, do you? And how many florists would you do away with if Doris refused to take your flowers, pal? How many!"
"Tell me what else you're gonna do with the petals, why dontcha."
"I'm filling an envelope, as we speak I might add, with a colourful selection of pulled petals, and I'm mailing it to Sally!" Michael quipped. "We'll see if she even bothers to realize that each petal in this Goddamned envelope represents the sadness that she has caused in me by refusing my offering of love! We'll just see.
"And they say, Marcus, that girls are the hopeless romantics of our species. You know that that is just an illusion created by florists, dontcha! It's us poor bastards who fall all over ourselves, trying to please our girls, who are the hopeless romantics, buddy, you mark my words!"
"Look, Michael," Marcus said, giving up entirely on the idea of having a peaceful day off. "Here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna hang up this phone, go downstairs, get in my car and come over there. Then I'm gonna pull out your Goddamned vacuum and suck up those rose petals that have fallen and help you throw out the rest of those wilted bastards. Then, when all of that is done, buddy, you and I are gonna go out and have supper. We'll drink some beer and forget all about florists and Sallys for one night. How does that sound, Michael?"
"Marcus," Michael replied. "You have no idea..."
"Yeah, Michael," Marcus said. "I do know how hard it is! Trust me! But you can't let these wasted flowers ruin your life. There will be other girls, Michael. And, heaven help us both, there will be other florists too. I'm hanging up now and when I do I'm coming over. So don't do anything crazy, do you hear me. Don't do anything crazy!"
"I give you my word of honor, Marcus," Michael stated a little too calmly for Marcus' liking. "I will do nothing but sit here in this room full of wilted roses and consider all the other uses I can come up with for fallen petals. I will be busy contemplating this and this alone, buddy. By the time you get here, I will have a list of uses, and together we will find something to do with each and every Goddamned fallen petal in this whole stinkin' apartment, buddy!"
"Good-bye, Michael," Marcus said calmly. "I will see you when I get there."
Michael hung up the receiver and looked around the room at his collection of wilted flowers and gave a great sigh of desperation. He picked up the receiver again and dialed the number of a local florist. He was on his fourth call when Marcus walked into his apartment to rescue him.
"Yes, the name is Sally Greene," Michael stated flatly into the phone. "You have the address. Could you please sign the card, 'To Sally, my sweetest flower. My deepest love and gratitude. Love Michael.'
"Yes, please put it on my tab," Michael continued as he raised a finger to let Marcus know that he would soon be done. He thanked the florist and hung up the receiver. "Hello, Marcus. Nice of you to come. I was just sending Sally some flowers. Didja wanna help me clean up these fallen petals, buddy, they're kinda takin' over the place, if you know what I mean."
At the end of every short story the reader should feel like a cloud has lifted from the face of the moon.